Tag Archives: trippy

Screwed – Review

11 Jun

Sometimes I watch a movie and I think, “How am I ever going to write a review for this?” Unfortunately, here I am today with that very same problem. Teruo Ishii is not a director with no credits, in fact his filmography is rather large and he is getting his material from a popular comic book artist, Yoshiharu Tsuge. What could go wrong here? It’s a movie that prides itself on being weird and exists solely to knock your socks off. Unfortunately, this movie is a failure on most levels.

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For two years, cartoonist Tsube (Tadanobu Asano) and Kuniko (Miki Fujitani) have lived together, and for those two years, Tsube has had very little work which results in very little money. After finding out that Kumiko had a one night stand and may now be pregnant, his self esteem reaches an all time low and he leaves her to travel around the countryside and hopefully find himself. While he travels, he meets a strange amount of people with obsessive or suppressed sexual urges, which makes him explore a side of himself that he never knew. When he gets an unexpected and life threatening injury, however, the world turns into a different sort of place where no one is willing to help him.

This is probably going to be a short review because I really don’t have much to say. Screwed feels so broken and dull that it hardly even qualifies as a movie you watch. It’s more like a movie you sleep through. Like, what was this movie trying to be? It’s this weird combination of an honest exploration of a depressed man’s mind, but then it’s also this acid trip down a hellish rabbit hole. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do either one well enough for me to be remotely interested in either.

Screwed didn’t work for me at all. The only time it got remotely cool was the last twenty minutes, and those parts all felt forced, like the film makers had to do something weird for its audience to respect it in some way. I know I say this a lot, but for a movie like this, it would have worked better as a short film around 45 or 50 minutes in length. It goes on for way too long and offers nothing of substance.

Bottom line: It’s stupid and ugly so don’t watch it.

I apologize for the quality of this review, but I really didn’t have much material to work with. There’s nothing online about this movie to clarify certain things or add decoration, so this is the best I can do for everyone. Until next time!

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Wild at Heart – Review

25 Apr

I’m a huge fan of David Lynch and could realistically talk about him for an entire week straight without getting bored. When I first saw his short film The Alphabet, I didn’t really know how crazy film makers could get. Ever since then it’s been a wild ride in my attempts to find some of the most insane movies to ever have been created. This all ties back into David Lynch because he’s never let me down when it comes to mind boggling weirdness. Even The Elephant Man has some pretty strange moments, but Wild at Heart shows the same type of odd characters and situations that were present in his previous film Blue Velvet and his short lived television show Twin Peaks.

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Lula (Laura Dern) and Sailor (Nicolas Cage) are two young people in love who are torn apart when Sailor kills a man trying to protect himself and Lula. This entire attack was organized by Lula’s psychotic and overly protective mother, Marietta Fortune (Diane Ladd), who forbids Lula from seeing Sailor when he gets out of prison. Of course, Lula disobeys her mother and runs off with Sailor as soon as he gets out with dreams of moving to California. As the two lovers spend their time making love and speeding down the highways, Marietta hires her private detective boyfriend Johnnie Farragut (Harry Dean Stanton) to track them down, but she also hires her other boyfriend, a gangster named Marcellus Santos (J.E. Freeman) to kill Sailor when he is found. Lula and Sailor have other problems, however, as they follow their version of the Yellow Brick Road into a small Texas town that makes hell seem comfortable. Problems that threaten to tear their beautiful relationship apart.

Wild at Heart shows a cool transition between the older style of David Lynch with films like Eraserhead and Blue Velvet and his later works like Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive. It has the same dirty characters and brutal violence seen in the early films and the trippy sequences and the more oddball characters of his later movie. While this movie does act as a bridge between the older and the newer David Lynch, it doesn’t quite have the intensity and mystery of his other films. As many strange characters and scenes there are in this movie, it doesn’t have the most fun aspect of David Lynch movies: figuring out what it all means.

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Wild at Heart is certainly a romance, except seen through the twisted eyes of David Lynch, much like how Danny Boyle’s  A Life Less Ordinary had a more frenetic view on romance. The style of this movie is very effective, and really is the coolest part of the movie. The jazz music mixed with the heavy metal music Sailor and Lula listen to combined with the rockabilly attitude of Sailor is just ludicrous in a way that only David Lynch could pull off. The supporting cast that I didn’t mention in my synopsis really contribute to that insane “Lynchian” factor. Crispin Glover’s small role is memorable, even though he has three lines of dialogue at best. Returning players who’ve worked with Lynch before include Sheryl Lee in a small part as the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz, Jack Nance as a crazy rocket scientist, and Isabella Rossellini as a criminal who has a shady past with Sailor. The scene stealer in this movie is Willem DaFoe as an off the wall hit man/bank robber named Bobby Peru. Everything from his outfit to the way he talks is completely ridiculous, creepy, and hilarious in the darkest sort of way.

Out of all of David Lynch’s movies that I’ve seen, Wild at Heart is one of my least favorites. I do love the style and the crazy romance, but it doesn’t have elements that made other films in Lynch’s filmography as memorable as they are. The plot seemed to be on the straight and narrow the entire way through, with only scenes that broke up the predictability of it all. The word “predictable” is a weird way to describe a movie of this film maker, but the plot seemed to follow a pretty straight line. There were small moments that shocked me and made me laugh, but as a whole it moved in a pretty normal way which I don’t want to see when I put on a movie made by David Lynch.

The video above shows the awesome first scene of Wild at Heart, and the insanity really doesn’t slow down at all. Lynch even made the slower parts of the movie feel really weird and nightmarish. Unfortunately, the plot wasn’t as interesting as the smaller scenes that were in the movie. The soundtrack and the performances were great and David Lynch’s entire style make this movie still really, really cool. Looking at it in terms of Lynch’s entire filmography, it doesn’t quite hold up to Lynch’s masterpieces like EraserheadBlue Velvet, and Mulholland Drive. Still, if you’re a fan of David Lynch or movies that make you feel very weird, Wild at Heart is still a hellish road trip worth taking.

Altered States – Review

4 Feb

The mind is one of the most amazing things to really think about. It’s a complex, almost abstract, biological machine that is strong, yet can be destroyed very easily. Enter drugs.  To some, they are a demented tool used by disturbed individuals for their own sadistic pleasure, yet others see drugs as a way of tapping into areas of our mind that we may not even know exists. Altered States is a strange and intelligent movie that explores drugs and their effects in a way that I’ve never seen done before.

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Edward Jessup (William Hurt) is a professor with a unique interest in abnormal psychology. At first, he’s interested in how schizophrenics react, through drug research and sensory depravation, to supposed altered states of consciousness. It doesn’t take long for Jessup, himself, to begin experimenting using the sensory depravation combined with a strange, mind bending mushroom brought back from Mexico. After months of doing this research, and using the drug multiple times, Jessup begins to notice something strange about himself. He appears to be devolving.

As far as narratives go, Altered States is not a very easy movie to 100% understand what exactly is going on. The story itself isn’t very twisted, but it is, arguably, pretty convoluted. A strange Mexican drug that, when mixed with sensory depravation, makes you devolve? I dare you to find something remotely like this. While it may be a little hard to buy into at first, it is intriguing, and you begin to really get lost in the story and all of its impressive visual effects. The effects, however, are a whole different story all together.

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Released in 1980, I figured that the special effects would look really cool, but also pretty dated. I’m a fan of older special effects, like what is seen in John Carpenter’s The Thing, but there are instances where these kind of special effects are distracting due to their aged look. Luckily, Altered States looks fantastic. They do look a little aged in their own way, but it sort of works great with the movie. If this was remade, and all of the effects were CGI, I feel like the “trip scenes” wouldn’t have impacted me as much as they did. Speaking of CGI, this was one of the first movies to really implement it, even though it was just for a quick scene towards the end of the movie. This particular effect looks pretty primitive, but it is a pretty important step for special effects in the film world.

I don’t feel like Altered States really gets the recognition it deserves. It was recognized back then as a great exercise in film making with two Academy Awards for Best Sound and Best Original Score. It lost Best Sound to The Empire Strikes Back, which I will admit, is pretty understandable. We are talking about one of the greatest sequels ever made. Still, I find it upsetting that it isn’t really remembered today. I hypothesize that if you were to try to bring Altered States back into pop culture, it wouldn’t be received very well because of how bizarre it is.

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Altered States is a really good science fiction/horror film. It can’t really be compared to a film of the same genre like Alien or its sequel, but it is definitely a lot better than I expected, and a really good movie in general. It’s quite a bizarre narrative with some of the weirdest scenes you will ever see in the movies. Unfortunately, the story can be a bit difficult to really buy into and the ending is a bit of a let down, but it’s still a trip worth taking if you think your mind can handle it.